College football: Tech crushes UMass for fifth straight win

682

 Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech Associate Athletic Director/Communications

RUSTON — On a night where members of the 1969 Louisiana Tech team were honored at halftime, the current version of the Bulldogs hung 69 on the scoreboard.

Justin Henderson rushed for 137 yards and three scores to pace a Tech rushing attack that totaled 385 yards in the game – the sixth most all-time – and the Bulldogs amassed 689 total yards in a 69-21 non-conference win over UMass at Joe Aillet Stadium Saturday night.

Tech improved to 5-1 with its fifth straight victory.

The 689 yards of offense were the sixth most in program history and the most since totaling 698 against Toledo in October of 1996.

Tech scored early and often as Amik Robertson returned an interception 42 yards for the first score of the game as the Bulldogs led 7-0 less than 60 seconds into the contest. Henderson then scored on runs of 74, 4 and 3 yards – all three coming in the opening quarter – to give Tech a 28-0 advantage at the end of one.

Henderson became the first Bulldog since Kenneth Dixon to rush for three TDs in one quarter. Dixon accomplished the feat in the second quarter of a 62-55 win over Texas State in San Marcos in 2012.

 J’Mar Smith tossed a pair of scores, covering 17 yards to Griffin Hebert and 1 yard to Henderson in the opening five minutes of the second quarter. The Bulldogs lead ballooned to 42-0.

UMass finally found the endzone, scoring back-to-back TDs over a three-minute span in the second quarter and cutting the Tech lead to 42-14.

Cee Jay Powell caught a two-yard TD pass from Smith and Bailey Hale added a 42 yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter, giving Tech a 52-14 halftime advantage.

Hale opened the third quarter with a 23-yard field goal as Tech pulled the majority of its starters for the rest of the game. Redshirt freshman DeAndre Marcus scored his first career touchdown on a 30-yard run with 6:49 to play in the third quarter and Aaron Allen hit Tahj Magee on a 13-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter for the final points of the game.

Marcus added a career-high 99 yards rushing on eight carries while Smith added 69 yards on the ground. Tech averaged 10.1 yards per carry in the game. 

Smith completed 16-of-28 passes for 239 yards and three scores while Allen completed both of his passes for 49 yards and the one score.

Powell led the Tech receiving corps with four grabs for 70 yards and a TD.

Trey Baldwin led Tech in tackles with 10, including two tackles for loss. Willie Baker added six stops, including three tackles for loss, as Tech recorded 11 tackles for loss in the game. Connor Taylor registered his first career interception for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs host Southern Miss next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in a showdown of the top two teams in the West Division of the Conference USA standings. Southern Miss defeated North Texas 45-27 Saturday in Hattiesburg.